By JOCELYN MONTEMAYOR and GERALD NAVAL
NATIONAL Task Force against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) chief Carlito Galvez Jr. on Monday night reported a downtrend in the number of infections in most parts of the country, including Metro Manila, but added there are still pockets of surges in a handful of areas.
Galvez, in his report to President Duterte, said aside from Metro Manila, CALABARZON (Region IV-A) and Central Luzon (Region III) had also started to show a decrease in the number of infections. CALABARZON and Central Luzon are currently under the modified general community quarantine while Metro Manila or NCR is under general community quarantine.
Galvez’s report was bolstered by the number of new COVID-19 infections yesterday that stood at 1,640, the lowest so far after a week of over 2,000 new cases daily, according to the Department of Health.
“Matagumpay po iyung iba na talagang nababawasan po natin katulad po ng NCR, Region IV-A, and then Region III ay talagang bumababa na rin po. (The others were successful in reducing the cases like in NCR, Region IV-A, and then Region III that really reported a drop in cases),” Galvez aid.
He said there are, however, some areas that had seen an increase in infections like Baguio City, Ilagan City in Cagayan Valley, and some areas in southern Mindanao.
Galvez said Isabela Governor Rodolfo Albano III had to impose enhanced community quarantine in the province due to the rising number of infections while some provinces like Bukidnon have asked the government for some form of aid to address their rising number of cases.
He said they are also monitoring the situation in Tawi-Tawi after a reported COVID-19 outbreak in Sabah. Several Filipinos repatriated from Sabah were bound for Tawi-Tawi.
Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process assistant secretary Wilben Mayor also said infections in Metro Manila had been on a decline, resulting in the freeing up of more hospital and isolation beds.
He expressed confidence the downtrend in cases would continue if the public continues to follow minimum health protocols like washing of hands, using facemask and shields, and physical distancing.
Mayor said while waiting for a vaccine the public should not be complacent and continue to observe the protocols.
“We at the National Task Force believe that the COVD-19 cases would continue to drop in the new weeks and month. The key is to follow the guidelines of government),” he said.
“We should not be overconfident. If we are complacent and revert to our old practices, the cases might again increase.”
Mayor also reminded the public that they should do away with home quarantine, even if they are asymptomatic or have a mild case of COVID-19 to avoid transmitting the virus to others. He said there are enough isolation facilities to accommodate them where they would be provided the needed treatment.
The DOH report noted 17 more deaths, raising the number of fatalities to 6,690.
In its latest bulletin, the DOH said of the 1,640 new cases, 86 came from Quezon City, Cavite also had 86, Batangas 69, Bulacan 62, and Manila 61.
Overall, the number of infections in the country rose to 360,775.
Majority of the new deaths were recorded in Metro Manila and Zamboanga Peninsula with 5 each. Central Luzon and Cordillera Administrative Region had 2 deaths each.
There were 369 new recoveries, meaning the number of survivors is now up to 310,642.
Globally, as of October 19, there were 39,944,882 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 1,111,998 deaths, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Twenty-six more overseas Filipinos have been infected with the deadly virus, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs said.
The number of overseas Filipinos infected rose to 11,178 although 7,234 of them have recovered, 33 of them yesterday.
The DFA also reported three new fatalities, bringing the total death toll to 815.
Muntinlupa City has the lowest number of COVID infections in Metro Manila, according to city health officer Dr. Teresa Tuliao, and the second lowest number of active cases in the National Capital Region. – With Ashzel Hachero and Noel Talacay